We've compiled a list of questions that are commonly asked regarding our business and funeral service in general. Please feel free to submit additional questions, and we will post them on here as we receive them. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your interest!
1. "How much does a funeral cost?"
The simple answer is, it varies. There are several general types of funerals, and numerous elements of those services that together make up the final cost. Generally speaking, there are two broad categories of services: immediate disposition services such as direct cremation or direct burial, where any services are held after the fact as memorial services; or services with the body present, culminating in burial or cremation following services. A very rough estimate is that you can reasonably expect to spend anywhere from $3,000- $7,000 on immediate disposition services, and anywhere from $6,000 - $11,000 on services with the body present. These are very broad estimates, however. We encourage you to review our "How Much Does a Funeral Cost?" planner, as well as consult with a funeral director, to get a more detailed, accurate estimate of what your particular desired services would cost.
2. "Should I be buried or cremated?" and "Should I have a viewing?"
This is a personal decision made by you and your family. Both burial and cremation are simply means of final disposition of the body - and neither affects your ability to have a viewing prior to the disposition. There are many reasons to choose one method or the other. Your selection will be determined by what is most important and feels most comfortable to you and your survivors. It is an important decision that should not be made lightly, and made in consultation whenever possible with those you will be leaving behind.
Many of us state that we don't want people "making a fuss" over us when we're gone, spending a lot of money, or don't want people looking at us. These are natural and fine sentiments of humility - but it is also important for us to remember that the funeral is not just about the deceased, but also about the opportunity for those close to us to say goodbye. It is important to balance our needs and desires with what will best help those who care about us grieve, gain closure and move forward.
A viewing can help those that care about us grieve and gain closure by confronting and accepting the reality of the death. Those outside the home, such as friends, coworkers, neighbors, and other associates may not have had the opportunity to see us before we passed and appreciate the opportunity to see us one final time. The process of embalming and cosmetizing can help reduce the ravages of illness or age, restoring a more peaceful appearance; this can help our loved ones leave us with a more peaceful, serene image of us in their minds. Burial of the body, or of the ashes, leaves a peaceful, permanent location for family and friends to visit and remember us. Cost can certainly be a concern as well. Perhaps viewing or burial is simply not cost-effective for you or your family, and thus other ways to memorialize can be found.
When considering or planning your own funeral services, or those of a family member, it is important to consider a few key factors, such as:
Is it important to my family and friends that there be a viewing?
What can I (or my family) afford to spend?
Are my plans in accordance with my religious beliefs?
If I cremate, should my ashes be buried?
Again, the answers to these questions will differ from person to person, and family to family. We urge you consider them carefully and arrive at a conclusion that is beneficial to all concerned.
3. "I want to be cremated. Do I have to belong to a cremation society?"
In a word, no. The various cremation societies you may have encountered or seen advertised are simply funeral homes operating under the name of a "cremation society" for marketing purposes. They are licensed by the State of Minnesota as funeral providers in exactly the same way as Mueller-Bies and every other funeral home in the state. All funeral homes offer cremation services, including our own. In fact, many "societies" charge a "membership fee" simply to start a file with your name; most funeral homes would be more than happy to assist you in recording your wishes at no charge. Mueller-Bies would never, ever charge a fee for you to record your funeral arrangement wishes with us.
4. "Do I have to preplan my funeral?"
It is not required to do so, but it can certainly be extremely helpful for a number of reasons. It can help you state your wishes; ensure necessary information such as vital statistics, military discharges or personal representation forms are available at the time of death; simplify the process for your survivors; and even save you and your family money. Please see our Planning Ahead page for more information.
5. "Cremation is cheaper than burial, right?"
In most cases, yes - but again, this is a broad question with a broad answer. All other factors being equal, if cremating prior to services, than yes, it will be ultimately less expensive than burial, or than cremating after services. Service options vary greatly, however; it is not uncommon to see a direct cremation service with burial of ashes at a cemetery, an expensive urn, lengthy obituaries, and other such extra items ultimately be more expensive than a simple direct burial with an inexpensive casket and vault. Again, please consult with a funeral director or see our "How Much Does a Funeral Cost?" planner for more information.
6. "Are burial vaults required by law?"
They are not required by law. They are, however, required by the policies of most cemeteries. Burial vaults prevent the eventual degradation of the casket and collapse of the grave, reducing cemetery grounds maintenance and thus also reducing the cost of the grave property and grave opening. Please consult with your chosen cemetery for more information.
7. "Do I have to be embalmed?"
Only if you choose services that require embalming. Embalming is only required by law in four circumstances: 1) If the body will be publicly viewed; 2) If the body will not be buried or cremated (or otherwise preserved) within 72 hours (or six days, if refrigeration is available); 3) if the body will be transported by common carrier (i.e. air, train, etc.); or 4) by order of the Dept of Health, for public health protection (i.e. dangerous communicable disease). Essentially, if you choose services involving a viewing, or if the body cannot be buried or cremated within 72 hours, then yes, embalming is required. If you choose direct cremation, direct burial, or closed casket services in which burial occurs within 72 hours (six days with refrigeration) than embalming is not required.
8. "I am (or my spouse is) a veteran. Can I be buried at Fort Snelling?"
Yes - provided you were honorably discharged and have committed no capital crimes. You must, however provide a copy of your DD-214 (or equivalent document, for WWII veterans) to the funeral home in order to arrange for the burial. If you do not have a copy of your DD-214, you may contact your local Veterans Service Office or see our Miscellaneous Links page for assistance in obtaining a replacement. All burial services at Fort Snelling are provided at no cost to you by the VA, including grave, interment, and monument (or wall niche, if desired, for cremated remains), as well as a minimum grave liner. You are permitted, if you desire, to purchase an upgraded burial vault, and the VA will reimburse you $250 of the purchase price.
If you choose burial in a private cemetery instead of Fort Snelling, you are eligible for a VA grave marker at no cost to you. The VA does not, however, provide markers for non-veteran spouses in private cemeteries; a matching marker for your spouse would have to be purchased by the family. You would be responsible for payment for the installation of either or both markers at the cemetery.
9. "Do I have to have a funeral?"
The decision is yours. The body must be disposed of (buried/cremated/donated) in accordance to state law; everything else is the decision of you and your family. If you do not wish to have any attendant rites or ceremonies associated with the burial or cremation, and your survivors are comfortable without having those rites, than that is perfectly acceptable.
10. "Do I have to have publish an obituary?"
No. Although it is customary to notify people of the death with an obituary announcement, and may be necessary to publicize the date/time/location of services, it is not required.
11. "Can I prepay my funeral and still qualify for Medical Assistance?"
Absolutely. Prepaid burial funds are placed into an irrevocable insurance policy or trust, and are exempt from Medical Assistance asset limitations.
If you have a question that you did not see covered here, we welcome you to submit it to us at email@example.com, and one of our funeral directors will respond to you. Please feel free to contact us or arrange for a consultation at one of our chapels as well.